New Legal Research of IMO Impact Assessment Process

In the first half of 2022 the International Maritime Organisation will consider the ‘lessons learnt’ from the heavily contested Impact Assessment procedure being employed in the assessment of measures for reducing shipping's GHG reductions.

While impact assessments are a relatively new field for the IMO, they have a longer history in other sectors. Two new legal research papers question the legal basis of some of the key underlying uncertainties in the IMO process to date.

PJAssociate Professor Bordahandy (USP Law School) has led a MCST team in a deep research dive to look at where the IMO Impact assessment process originated from and asks whether the IMO has confused Environment Impact Assessments (EIAs) – which are reasonably well understood and recognized - with Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIA), a markedly different and less well recognized and defined instrument. The paper concludes with suggesting a series of six priority actions for Pacific delegations to consider advocating for in forthcoming IMO sessions.

 Kate CookThe Clean Seas Coalition has also raised the issue of IMO's interpretation of Impact Assessments. In a detailed legal assessment lodged as an information paper at the upcoming 11th Intercessional Working Group, highly respected legal expert Kate Cook at Matrix Chambers and Leigh Day Solicitors of London examines the precedents around Environmental Impact Assessments, particularly positive impacts, as used in other theatres to highlight the deficiencies in the current IMO regime.